House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi famously promoted passage of the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) on March 9, 2010 by saying “we have to pass the bill so we can find out what’s in it”. Seven years later as Republicans try to pass a new bill to repeal ObamaCare it seems that Pelosi still is talking about bills before she’s read them.
In her comments opposing the new healthcare bill, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) Pelosi said, “This is deadly. This is deadly.” She asserts that the bill would “gut” protections for patients with pre-existing conditions. Clearly she hasn’t actually read the bill – or is more interested in frightening people with false claims because it threatens to repeal ObamaCare.
The legislation states clearly: “Nothing in this Act shall be construed as permitting health insurance issuers to limit access to health coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions.”
Pelosi is not alone. Equally ridiculous claims about the bill are being promoted by other Democrats including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D – FL), and ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber.
Gruber claims it is dangerous to grant states waivers from some ObamaCare requirements. He suggested insurers could now “literally say, just because the genes you were born with you’re going to pay more for health insurance.”
Karl Rove, writing in The Wall Street Journal, says Gruber didn’t read the bill, either. States may seek waivers from some ObamaCare provisions, but the law explicitly prohibits waivers on pre-existing conditions. Plus all waivers must prove they would lower or stabilize premiums, increase coverage, or expand the choice of health plans.
People in those states granted waivers who allow their policies to lapse for more than two months could be charged up to 30% more in the first year. Premiums will drop after the first year to the standard level. This is meant to incentivize people to maintain continuous coverage – which is good for them and for everyone else because it stabilizes the insurance market.
ObamaCare allowed people to game the system by enrolling after they were sick and dropping coverage whenever they got well – without any additional expense. This is like forcing home insurers to cover your house after it is on fire – and then dropping coverage after it is rebuilt.
Gruber also claims the high-risk pools aren’t adequately funded and will therefore collapse, leaving people to find coverage on their own. However, total funding for the high-risk pools is $138 billion. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, in 2011, 35 states had high-risk pools covering 226,000 people with $2.6 billion in claims. Some $1.4 billion was covered by the premiums these patients paid, and the states only had to contribute $1.2 billion more. The AHCA funding of these pools greatly exceeds these contribution levels even if all 50 states request waivers.
Rep. Richard Neal (D – MA) weighed in with his claim that Republicans had voted to impose an “age tax” because the bill would allow premiums for older ObamaCare policyholders to be five times those of younger people. (ObamaCare only allows three times as much) Yet older people’s health expenses are generally five times as high. ObamaCare is forcing the young and healthy to subsidize the cost of care for the elderly and sick. Does anyone really believe that a young, healthy individual with no medical problems should pay the same rate as someone in their sixties with diabetes, heart disease and kidney failure? ObamaCare tried that approach and the young wisely refused to enroll – despite a tax on non-compliance!
All of this merely shows that the opponents of the AHCA are so rigidly fixed to their ideology that they refuse to acknowledge ObamaCare’s problems or honestly debate any proposed changes. The facts concerning the AHCA don’t really matter to these people because they consider any change unacceptable – even in the face of ObamaCare’s imminent implosion.
The only acceptable change for these people is single-payer healthcare – socialized medicine. They don’t want anything to prevent the complete collapse of ObamaCare because they believe this will open the door for the single-payer system they have sought for years.
Sadly, the people who will be most adversely impacted by single-payer healthcare are the low and middle income Americans Democrats claim to represent. My advice to them is this: If you like socialized medicine, just try getting your healthcare at the VA hospital – or better yet, move to Canada.